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Government Policies Directly Impact on Sustainable Development of the Coconut Sector

("The Cocommunity" - Monthly APCC Newsletter
Volume 44, Series No. 4, 1 April 2014)

Well directed policy initiatives and interventions by respective Governments of coconut growing countries is key to sustainable development of the coconut sector that assures millions of rural families of an acceptable quality of life under the coconut tree.

As a result of the damaging effects of typhoon Haiyan on coconut trees the Government of the Republic of the Philippines amongst the many needful initiatives including mobilisation of external and domestic funding has proceeded to issue last month under the Department of Agrarian Reform the Administrative Order No. 02 (Series of 2014) as reported by UCAP Weekly Bulletin, March 20, 2014 “to address and mitigate the effect of fortuitous events or natural disasters/calamities on landholdings devoted to coconut production, and to attend to and improve the economic condition of the agriculture lessee-tenants on coconut lands devastated by such events”. This move has saved farmers from either eviction or foreclosure in case of debt in relation to outstanding land lease rental or similar payments as a result of crop failure caused by these natural disasters which eliminate both present and future farm income until such time farmers restore their crop. It is very heartening to know that this order is not only limited to such events as typhoons, floods, riots, strikes, wars, earthquakes and drought. This Government assistance is as good as an “insurance policy” for affected farmers at such a time as this for many years ahead.

We join in also congratulating the Coconut Development Board (CDB) of India once again for yet another milestone achievement. After many long years of lobby and submissions on behalf of farmers there was a breakthrough with the Government’s introduction of the new Neera policy. The Government of Kerala affected long-awaited amendments in the Excise rules and notified the Kerala Sweet Toddy (Neera) Rules 2014 and gazetted in February 2014 hence enabling tapping, harvest and processing of Neera with adherence to strict procedures in moves to encourage value addition and promotion of Neera as a ‘Nutritious Natural Health Drink’. I echo the words of T.K. Jose, IAS, Chairman of CDB, India, on Neera production in the February 2014 issues of Indian Coconut Journal as “the dream come true”.

The Government of Fiji moved to restate the functions of the Coconut Industry Development Authority (CIDA) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Primary Industries. The Government provided funding support for training at the whole nut processing factory at Taveuni Coconut Center, and in 2013 launched 1 million coconut tree planting campaign to year 2015.

These are a few noteworthy examples of land mark policy decisions by Governments of coconut producing countries to maintain viability of the coconut sector that sustain the livelihoods of the many rural families that depend on it. We continue to seek similar policy advancements in APCC member countries where appropriate policies and programs are engineered by respective Governments to enable resiliency and sustainability in the coconut sector as in the recent stories captured.

The APCC Secretariat in collaboration with the Ministry of Coconut Development & Janatha Estate Development and the Coconut Research Institute of Sri Lanka prepare now for the 46th APCC COCOTECH Conference & Coconut Festival 2014 that will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 7 – 11thJuly 2014. The theme of this Conference is “Policies, Programs & Technologies Towards a Resilient and Sustainable Coconut Sector”. A number of very good coconut experts of this era as well as the most interesting partners in the trade, market and consumer world of coconut will present and share a great wealth of knowledge, technology and product market prospect for the coconut sector going forward. We are pleased to inform our stakeholders that there is overwhelming interest in this Conference that grows by the day from responses coming through for registration and relevant information. Please do not hesitate to enquire through our website [www.apccsec.org] or enquire at our email address [apcc@indo.net.id].

Let us join hands together as stakeholders and friends of the coconut to continue planting the “Tree of Life” to sustain our future generations.

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